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Coach Speak(s) Illinois Week

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Following a rough loss at Iowa Purdue prepares to face Giant Killer Illinois.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Iowa
Brothers don’t shake, brothers gotta hug!
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Brohm’s first impressions of Illinois:

This team in my opinion is vastly improved from the previous years. I think they have done a great job with the youth that they have played with the last couple years. They went a different route and added a lot of transfers. The leading sack leader on the team as a grad transfer from USC. One of the best linebackers is a transfer from Washington and they have a few more on defense.

On offense, their starting quarterback, their leading receiver and starting offensive linemen are all grad transfers, so they have added some experience with their youth and it’s made them a better football team. I.

Think that they are playing very good right now. They are playing confident. They have had a big win against Wisconsin. They played Michigan close. They played Nebraska down to the wire. This team has done a very good job of improving.

I think on defense, they ranked eighth in the country for tackles for loss. The grad transfers from USC has eight and a half sacks. They do a great job of mixing things up a little bit more than they have in the past and getting penetration and getting negative plays.

So we’ll have our hands full. We have to have a great week of practice. We have to improve from what we did last week. We have to find ways to create more plays, be more consistent, execute better, and all those things have to happen in order for us to win.

Injury Update:

Rondale? HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: I’d say it’s doubtful.

Q. How about Cornel Jones? HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Cornel, I will probably know later in the week. But I’d say 50/50 at this point.

Q. Branson Deen? HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: I would say that one’s doubtful.

Q. Is there a reason why Sparks and Watts are not on the depth chart? HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Watts will play. He has an elbow injury that he’s been dealing with.

Sparks is probably doubtful.

Is this the week we’re finally going to see Lorenzo Neal? HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: He’ll be out this game.

Update on Jalen Graham? HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Jalen had a hip flexor. I think he’ll be able to play this week, but he’s not going to be able to practice a whole lot.

On the controversial fumble in the Iowa game:

I had multiple people look at it with me. Of course, my opinion is, you know, I did not think it was a fumble. But it got called on the field. It didn’t get reversed. I disagree with the call, but we’ve got to live with what the call is.

And I thought he did a good job on the screen, making the catch, getting some yards and unfortunately came out at the end I guess.

Not really a question but please talk about David Bell:

David’s been outstanding, and he played well. Somebody that you know, going to have to be a playmaker for us with where we are at right now, every game, we’re going to have to utilize him and make sure we get others involved as well.

But he definitely makes the catch. He definitely runs the route and gets open, and when he’s guarded tight, he still makes the catch. And I think that’s what separates him from the others sometimes is his ability to consistently make a catch, even when he’s not wide open. And he definitely did that all game long.

On the return of Worship and Fuller:

Well, you know, both those guys are getting back from injury. I think you’ll see Tario in the mix this week.

Richie, you know, he’s continuing to work through his issues and we’ll see how healthy he is at the end of the week. He had some soreness and some things after the game, so we’ll make sure we manage that and see if he can play this week.